There are many moving pieces in the wholesale fashion world. Today we breakdown working with high fashion wholesale clothing distributors. Read more below…
When you think of high fashion, you may think of haute couture and picture runway models wearing custom-made clothing created by the most desirable designers. You are correct in your line of thinking. That is high fashion to the extreme.
In the retail fashion boutique business, there is an alternate version of high fashion, one you can capture, making your customers happy.
Think of high fashion as having the following characteristics: quality, trendy designs, affordability, and accessibility. Think high fashion ready-to-wear clothing that gives your customers a chance to wear the latest trends made with superior materials.
To make this happen, working with a high fashion wholesale clothing distributor is crucial.
Understanding High Fashion Wholesalers
Wholesale suppliers can sell clothing to you in bulk at a reduced price. The more items you order, your costs drop. Wholesalers purchase fashion clothing directly from the manufacturers, giving them a heads up on the latest trends in design and style. As a retailer, your wholesaler shares this information with you, giving you an edge over your competitors.
Finding the Right Wholesale Clothing Vendor
Finding the right wholesale supplier is a process. We’ve put together a list of questions to help you narrow your list of wholesaler options:
- Do their manufacturers use the best materials? Does their production process create high-quality clothing that will look and feel great for a long time?
- Does the wholesale supplier offer a variety of clothing options?
- Are the products discounted enough that you benefit from the profit margins and your customers will be happy with the retail cost?
- How long does it take to receive your order?
- What are the shipping fees?
- What is their return policy?
- Where are the wholesale supplier and manufacturer located? How will their location affect shipping and deadlines?
- What are the wholesaler’s terms and conditions?
Once you narrow your list of wholesale suppliers, you can take steps to help you make a final decision. Your first thought may be to work with multiple wholesale suppliers. What you may find, however, is that ordering, organization, payments, returns, and supplier relationships are more challenging to manage. If you can find one wholesale distributor that meets all your needs, you can spend more time making your boutique a success.
Steps to Ensure You Choose the Right Wholesale Supplier
Knowing more about a wholesale supplier is the best way to learn if they are the right fit for your boutique business. One step you can take is to start building a relationship with your contact at the wholesaler.
You are not looking for a new best friend. Instead, you are looking for a wholesaler that treats you like a partner. They understand that you are a customer and go above and beyond to make you a happy customer.
Another step is to check the wholesale supplier’s references, as you would if interviewing them for a job. In a way, you are interviewing them for one of the most important jobs, providing clothing that your customers love and bringing in revenue for your boutique.
Wholesale suppliers should be happy to share references with you. You can also search online reviews and the Better Business Bureau for positive and negative feedback.
Other steps to take include placing a small batch order to get a feel for how the process works, visiting the wholesaler and manufacturer in person if reasonable, asking for samples, and reviewing their contract thoroughly before signing.
Characteristics of a Great Wholesale Supplier
As you gather information, ask questions, and narrow your wholesale supplier choices, look for the must-have traits that separate great distributors from good ones. Characteristics at the top of the list include:
- Reliability, or the wholesaler’s ability to produce consistent results, shows they are trustworthy and dependable.
- Accountability, being able to admit mistakes if they happen and work together towards a satisfying resolution
- Expertise in their products, manufacturers, and how they can benefit your business
- Desire to work together to improve the process, so it benefits both of you
- Communication that is easy to understand, positive, and solution-oriented
- Compliance with all laws, regulations, and standards shows they have integrity and ethics
Building the Relationship with Your Wholesale Supplier
There is more work to do after finding the right wholesaler. You must continue to develop your relationship. Doing so will make your job easier. Having a positive working relationship means you both have the same goal, to help each other succeed.
To build a better relationship, meet your wholesale suppliers when possible. If the distance is an issue, use video conferencing for meetings. Relationships become more personal when you can talk face-to-face.
Also, do your part in making the relationship better. Make payments on time, avoid last-minute orders, send them referrals, and know your numbers.
As your relationship grows, you will be able to negotiate better deals and be included in inside discounts and deals. The better customer you are to the wholesaler, the harder they will work for your boutique.
- Learn their technology and purchasing system to avoid complications
- Create sales forecasts and share them with your supplier
- Expand your product line with items your supplier offers
- Invest in technology and internet services that make communication and ordering easy
- Share files, like inventory planning, with your supplier via e-communication.
Takeaways From Working WithHigh Fashion Wholesale Clothing Distributors
Working with high fashion wholesale clothing distributors can be a great experience if you take the time to find the best one for your boutique business. As with any relationship, what you put into it predicts what you will get out of it.
The effort you put forth, in the beginning, can prevent many of the hassles, disappointments, and frustrations other retailers experience that didn’t make hiring the best wholesale supplier a priority.
If you are just beginning your search for a wholesaler or want to switch to a new wholesaler, follow the tips and suggestions offered. Continue learning and be diligent in your quest to find a wholesaler that will help your boutique succeed.